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OzAsia Festival 2014 kicks off tonight ahead of three weeks of colour, creativity and cultural diversity

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Immerse yourself in spectacular dance, theatre, film, music, visual arts and more as this year’s OzAsia Festival launches tonight at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

This year’s huge Festival program boasts 21 performances, 36 events and more than 250 artists and presenters from around the globe. Get set for six world premieres, 7 Australian premieres, 8 South Australian premieres and 26 Adelaide exclusives.

From Confucius to coins, photography to free exhibitions, movies to music, tea to Tan Dun – this is a Festival to feed the senses.

The Moon Lantern Festival on Monday September 8 will again see Elder Park transformed into a theatrical, illuminated extravaganza. Featuring 10 schools and 48 community groups, hundreds of huge lanterns will come to life in this much-loved event that shines a light on our cultural diversity and cohesion.

The program gets off to an energetic start tonight with Qingdao Song and Dance Theatre’s premiere and exclusive performance of Red Sorghum. Adapted from the novel by Shandong’s Nobel Prize winning author Mo Yan, the winner of this year’s Wenhua Prize, China’s Ministry of Culture’s highest award for professional arts, the work presents themes of love, affection and patriotism._dsc2185

Be transported into an ethereal world of ghosts, foxes, immortals and demons when the award-winningShandong Acrobatic Troupe stages the Australian premiere of Dream of the Ghost Story. Featuring more than 50 performers, this is a magical journey for the whole family.

Another explosive Australian premiere see’s director Wang Chong and Théatre Du Réve Expérimentalpresent Ibsen in One Take, a movie, filmed live on stage in a single take. Inspired by the works of Norwegian dramatic playwright Henrik Ibsen, the work is an avant-garde explosion of theatrical convention in China that defies artistic and technical expectations.

And Beijing’s famed minimalist modern dance troupe TAO Dance Theatre has taken China by storm and is now set to captivate Adelaide audiences with the Australian premiere of 6 and the world premiere of 7, commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, with the support of the Adelaide Festival Centre.

Festival Director Joseph Mitchell, heading up his first Festival, says this year’s program features some of the most exciting contemporary performance and visual arts from across Asia.

“With programming that includes contemporary dance, theatre, music, visual arts, talks, film and many family friendly cultural events, 2014 will have something for everyone to relish,” he says. “This year’s Moon Lantern Festival will be bigger than ever with many exciting new lanterns being paraded for the first time, and more than 1,300 participants in the parade.

“Other highlights include the world premiere of 7 from Tao Dance Theatre, one of the world’s most exciting new contemporary dance companies. And Ibsen in One Take by acclaimed and sometime controversial Chinese director Wang Chong is a must see for theatre-lovers.”

In 2013 an agreement was signed between Adelaide Festival Centre Trust and the Shandong Government’s Department of Culture.

Premier Jay Weatherill says: “The Cultural Agreement with Shandong is helping to cement South Australia’s growing relations with this vast and prosperous province because in China it is understood that cultural partnerships complement political and economic partnerships.

“OzAsia is helping to shape an image of South Australia nationally and internationally as an inclusive society that is culturally rich and diverse. The showcasing of Asian culture has enriched the experience of Australian audiences by providing a more diverse range of artistic expression. The agreement with Shandong in particular is bringing productions to Adelaide that would otherwise never come to Australia and we are very fortunate to have the opportunity to see this amazing work without leaving home.”

As such, this year’s OzAsia program celebrates the cultural diversity and rich history of Adelaide’s sister state, Shandong Province, China. The Festival will feature more than 150 performers from the region as well as representing performances and events from Japan, India, Korea, the Philippines, Cambodia, Palestine, Bangladesh, Russia, Indonesia, Mongolia and of course Australia.

Festival Director Joseph Mitchell says: “The major works from Shandong, including award-winning Red Sorghum and family favourite Dream of the Ghost Story, both demonstrate the unique artistic quality from South Australia’s sister province of Shandong, China. Also, music lovers shouldn’t miss Nova Heart with lead singer Helen Feng who has been called the ‘Blondie of China’.

“There are also many engagement opportunities for the community including arts and craft workshops facilitated by specialised artists from Shandong Province, a celebration of food and tea at the Migration Museum and many free talks and visual arts exhibitions at various venues and galleries in the city areas.”

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier says; “OzAsia in its eighth successful year is the pre-eminent Asian/Australian cultural event in this country. It is a key part of the Adelaide Festival Centre’s leadership as a national hub for Australian/Asian cultural exchange.

“This year the centrepiece is ‘Showcase Shandong’, the largest cultural exchange between a Chinese Province and an Australian State ever staged. There will be 150 performers, great shows, exhibitions, workshops, kite making and seminars from this cradle of Chinese civilisation and culture. All of it exclusive to Adelaide.”

Other highlights from this year’s program include Floating Melodies which sees Adelaide icon The Popeye come to life for a series of concerts on the River Torrens; a world-first music project, Synergy Percussion, Australia’s oldest and foremost contemporary music ensemble, joins forces with Noreum Machi, one of Korea’s most important proponents of traditional drumming in a dark, vibrant and transformative concert experience Synergy Percussion Meets Noreum Machi.

World-renowned composer and conductor Tan Dun returns to the OzAsia Festival with the magnificentAdelaide Symphony Orchestra with the Australian premiere of Nu Shu: The Secret Songs of Women. Tan Dan weaves heart wrenching stories of mothers, daughters, sisters and how they navigate their lives through the secret language of Nu Shu.

David Knox, managing director and CEO of major partner Santos says: “South Australia hosts a wide range of cultural festivals and sporting events each year, delivering not only wonderful spectacles but also economic success stories. We believe the OzAsia Festival will play an increasingly important role in driving economic activity in South Australia and strengthening ties with some of our most important neighbours and Santos is very excited to be a part of that.”

The culturally diverse OzAsia Festival runs from 3 – 21 September and is proudly supported by theGovernment of South Australia.

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